Lifestyle changes that make an impact

During 2017, scores of Yakima physicians referred patients to Virginia Mason Memorial’s Diabetes Prevention program, and 398 of you enrolled.  Generous gifts to The Memorial Foundation and grant funding help support this life-changing program.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control, the goal is for those at risk to learn a lifestyle of healthier choices to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.  Fifty percent of participants achieved a 5-7 percent weight loss during the first 16 weeks, adding up to a combined weight loss of 4,224 pounds.

The Diabetes Prevention Program is subsidized wholly through community donations to The Memorial Foundation and grants received.  Thank you for doing your part to make Yakima a healthier place to live!

For information about the class, visit

You do not need a physician’s referral to take the class. “All you need to do is give this program a try!”

“When a friend mentioned this lifestyle change program to me, it piqued my interest. I had wanted to change my eating and exercise habits for some time, and I jumped at the opportunity to get started. I enjoy hearing different ideas and perspectives from others in the program and am motivated by the enthusiasm I see each week. Now, I am working on a daily routine that involves healthy eating and exercising.” ––a program participant

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Grieving?  Where to turn

Your gifts to The Memorial Foundation provide funding for bereavement support to assist people after the loss of a loved one.  During this difficult time, coping with day-to-day life can sometimes be a struggle – Compass Care is there to help.

“The Memorial Hospice team brought such compassion, care and comfort, not just for the patients, but for my whole family.  They understood my overwhelming grief as I walked the last journey with my brother.”  —a grateful family member

Each person grieves differently.  After the loss of a loved one, people may feel guilt, loneliness, regret, numbness, anger, denial, shock, relief, peace…or any combination of these.

Because of your donations, bereavement services are increasing dramatically for our community. Support groups are offered throughout the Valley, as well as innovative programming for those who have suffered a loss, including Compass Care’s Grief Recovery Workshops and the annual Kids Grief Workshop program.  Visit for more information.

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Nothing can prepare you for the word “Cancer”.

A breast cancer survivor shares her gratefulness. Your donations help support vital services at both North Star Lodge Cancer Care Center and ‘Ohana Mammography Center that help many patients like Heather.

“After a mammogram and ultrasound at ‘Ohana, I was evaluated by a surgeon who ordered a biopsy.  Waiting on results from the biopsy was one of the scariest times in my life.

I don’t think anything can prepare you for the word “Cancer”.  The diagnosis was ductal carcinoma in situ.  At this point I couldn’t seem to hear anything else that was said.  I felt like both feet were knocked out from under me.  Having to process it myself and then trying to let my children and family know was one of the hardest things to do.

After discussion with my doctors, we planned a full mastectomy, followed by 6 straight weeks of radiation at North Star Lodge and then reconstruction.  After healing from several related surgeries, I was ready for my final surgery. It has been a long recovery. Going through this I was always thankful for the care I received. Thank you for all the care you gave me.

During this time, I shared a bond with some women I will never forget—other patients at North Star. I now have the burning desire to serve and volunteer at North Star Lodge and help in any way I can to continue giving love and guidance to those in need. My fuel in life that keeps me going is to love others where they are. The more that I give of my time and love for others, the gift is no greater than what I get back.”

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Mr. West Valley 2018 Miracle Child

Shealyn was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome at about 1 month old and that’s how we came to learn about Children’s Village.

One of the most common causes of genetic life-threatening childhood obesity, PWS occurs when there is an error on chromosome 15.  There are two main stages of PWS: the first stage being hypotonia, poor feeding in infancy, failure to thrive, and delayed motor development due to low muscle tone.  The second is hyperphagia, which is an uncontrollable drive to eat with intense food-seeking behaviors and a constant feeling of starvation, even after eating a large meal.  Their metabolism is slower and they have to consume fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight.

Other effects of PWS can be short stature if they’re not treated with growth hormone; learning difficulties, and low IQ.  They are usually very sweet and loving people, and many other medical issues can occur.  In our personal journey with PWS we have been very lucky; it is a spectrum and we have been on the higher functioning side so far.  We constantly push Shea and treat her no different than any other child.

When we left the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, all of the Children’s Village’s services were set in place for us.  A dietitian helped with weight checks, nutrition, and calculated calories.  A speech and feeding therapist helped with the feeding difficulties.  We also had an occupational therapist to help with low muscle tone and helping reach developmental milestones.

As things progressed we’ve had different challenges along the way.  As Shea learned to bottle feed and started gaining weight, we no longer needed the dietitian or speech and feeding therapist. We did continue utilizing the occupational therapist, due to her low muscle tone.  Shea developed scoliosis around 18 months of age, which is quite common in PWS children, and had to be in a brace for a little over a year.  When she turned 2 years old we started speech therapy, and we chose to have this in combination with hippotherapy, which is horseback riding.  Because of her scoliosis, horseback riding therapy would help strengthen her core muscles.  We did this for a little over a year and her spine has straightened out.  She’s gotten stronger and has been brace-free for a little over a year now.

Even with all these things going on with Shealyn, everything is really good right now and we are on cruise control, in our new way of normal.

We do have lots of hope.  Hope for a medication that will help with hunger.  Hope that someday she can attend college if she would like to.  Hope that someday she may be able to live independently and have a job.

I really can’t imagine where we would be today without the help of Children’s Village and its services.  With a new diagnosis and the grieving process that goes with that, there is no way that we could’ve managed to get everything set up and to obtain all the care that was needed.  Without their help, Shea may not be doing as well as she is right now.  It was a very organized process.  With the help of our family coordinator, they took care of everything and helped set up all of the services and specialists we needed.  We’re very fortunate to have a place like Children’s Village here in Yakima.

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Unitus Community and Solarity Credit Unions support CU4Kids!

Thank you to Unitus Community Credit Union and Solarity Credit Union for supporting babies and kids treated at Children’s Village and Virginia Mason Memorial, your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Solarity Credit Union has continued its support of pediatric patients treated at our hospital through their sponsorship of the Red Flyer Wagon at the Northwest Credit Union Association’s annual auction benefiting CU4Kids. During last year’s auction, Unitus Community Credit Union placed the highest bid for the wagon at $10,000. We are so grateful for the support from these generous organizations; thank you for making miracles possible for kids across Central Washington!

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Cle Elum Artists on Display

A generous group of quilters in Cle Elum spends a lot of time sewing for Virginia Mason Memorial’s tiniest patients.  Quilts, receiving blankets, travel blankets, and other infant items are their special focus.  They have created scores of custom designs for our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric patients.  Now you have a chance to view their handiwork!

The Carpenter House Museum and Art Gallery at 302 W Third Street, Cle Elum, is presenting a very special showing of the group’s quilts, between June 30 – July 27.  Afterward, many of the quilts will be donated to The Memorial Foundation for Memorial’s pediatric and hospice patients.  The Carpenter House is open Friday through Sundays, Noon – 4:00 PM.  If you attend on July 8, some of the artists will be in attendance.  And, they’ll have cookies!

Take a scenic drive, enjoy the quilted art show, and stop in at the Cle Elum Dairy Queen for their Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® fundraising campaign benefitting, you guessed it…children’s health care programs and services at Virginia Mason Memorial, your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.


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Gesa Credit Union became The Memorial Foundation’s first Mission Partner by pledging $30,000 in support of its four initiatives

Gesa Credit Union became The Memorial Foundation’s first Mission Partner by pledging $30,000 in support of its four initiatives: Children’s Health, Healthy Yakima, Cancer Care, and Compass Care. The partnership was announced and celebrated at the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours hosted at Gesa Credit Union’s South First Street branch office.

“We are grateful for the support from Gesa Credit Union and excited about the investment they are making in the Yakima Valley,” said Erin Black, Chief Executive Officer at The Memorial Foundation. “Through our partnership, Gesa Credit Union is supporting the improvement of health care outcomes across the entire lifespan.”

The Memorial Foundation focuses on the areas of health care that most greatly affect the everyday lives of the people who call Central Washington their home. With the creation of the Mission Partnership, organizations are able to invest in improving and sustaining a healthier and more vital community. Through their support, Gesa Credit Union will have direct impact on areas of wellbeing across the entire lifespan, from birth through end-of-life care.

“Helping people is a part of the credit union philosophy and that help extends to organizations within our community. We want to build awareness of the incredible work being done by The Memorial Foundation,” said Don Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer at Gesa Credit Union. “Our partnership is a perfect example of how credit unions can work with local organizations to provide much needed support for programs in our community.”

Gesa Credit Union and The Memorial Foundation are excited to advance and transform health care across the Yakima Valley together.

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Miracle May

The following community organizations have partnered with The Memorial Foundation to celebrate Miracle May and invite the community to help babies and kids treated at Virginia Mason Memorial, your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Below are the dates for each community partner’s campaign:

Thank you for making miracles Chipotle Mexican Grill, Costco Wholesale, AutoSpa of Central Washington, MOD Pizza, Virginia Mason Memorial’s Café, and Canopy Country RV Center

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Thank you Solarity Credit Union

At the 2016 Northwest Credit Union Association’s Credit Unions for Kids Auction, Solarity Credit Union won the bid to donate a Red Flyer Wagon filled with toys to kids at Virginia Mason Memorial, Central Washington’s CMN Hospital. We learned this week that the gift continues to keep giving. Kate Gottlieb, Sustainability Program Coordinator at Virginia Mason Memorial, sent us the following pictures and note:

“Thank you Solarity Credit Union for donating not only a Radio Flyer Wagon to Memorial, but introducing our children to the great outdoors on a beautiful sunny day in the Yakima Valley! BONUS- when mom is walking to a meeting and spots her son enjoying his time outdoors with his teachers and friends!”

Our Early Learning Center is getting a lot of valuable use out of the wagon donation. Thank you, Solarity!

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Quick results eases minds

“Because of my history, I am very grateful for the call with my mammogram results on the same day.  It really eased my mind!” … a grateful patient 

At Virginia Mason Memorial, the Virginia Mason Production System is used to streamline processes to create a better patient experience.  This involves identifying an area to improve and working as a team to dig deep and evaluate exactly how to improve the identified issue. This process is referred to as a Kaizen Event.

‘Ohana Mammography Center performs 10,000 – 12,000 mammograms every year, and is supported through community donations.  Its recent Kaizen Event has yielded some impressive positive changes.  Prior to using the Kaizen process to evaluate services, scheduling a patient for a diagnostic exam at ‘Ohana could take as long as 5 days and results to the patient from the exam could take as long as 2 weeks.  By utilizing teamwork across Virginia Mason Memorial, scheduling time from a provider order has been decreased down to 2 hours and diagnostic results are called to the patient the same day.

Another opportunity to improve timeliness for our patients is being done with our Friday walk-in screening clinic.  Previously it would take 45 minutes for the patient to be scheduled before she could get her screening exam.  Today, scheduling time is down to 9 minutes.  This is encouraging to the women who don’t have time to spend an hour to get a walk in appointment, and gives them an opportunity to get their screening when it is convenient for them.

By supporting Cancer Care through The Memorial Foundation, all patients, regardless of financial status, are able to receive the best possible care.

Information shared by Nancy Roehr, Senior Manager, ‘Ohana

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